“WISDOM OF LIVING (54) LEARNING” By Pastor YAU
Text: Philippians 4:4-13 December 30, 2007.
1) A teaching coach: Casey Seymour, a successful soccer player and coach, notes that everyone on his team hates the 10-by-100 drill at the end of their practice. At the end of routine practice, everyone on the team must run 100 yards 10 times at full speed before they can leave the field. If they don’t beat the prescribed time, they have to do it again. All the players hate it---until the day of the game. Then they find that they can play at full speed for the entire match. Their effort has been rewarded with a championship.
2) A teaching apostle: Thousands of years ago, the Apostle Paul used the metaphors of training and competition in his letters to the early Christians. While he was a missionary to the Gentiles, he submitted to training and drills God placed on his life. He went through many suffering and hardships. More than once, he said, “I have learned” (Phil. -12)For him, and all of us, following Jesus is a lifelong learning process. We are not spiritually mature the day we are saved, not any more than a schoolboy is ready for a professional soccer team. We grow our faith and strength as we allow God’s plan of training through His word and our life experience to train us that we will be ready to be in the winning team.
LIFE IS A PROCESS OF LEARNING:
1) We learn to grow: Everyone starts to learn when we first come to this world as babies. We learn to cry and not to laugh. We learn to smile and giggle. We learn to respond to stimulation. We learn to read and write. Later on we learn to drive, to date, to have a family, to be parents. Just to list a few. In fact, if we are diligent and observant, we never stop learning all days of our life. We learn to grow our bodies, our emotional tank, our knowledge capacity and we learn to build a relationship with God. Without learning, life is boring and with little meaning and purpose. People who are eager to learn, regardless of age, surrounding condition or ability, they make their lives fuller with purpose, meaning and usefulness. When one stops learning, he stops growing.
2) We learn know: Knowledge is something others pass on to us: knowledge of life, of matters and of spiritual nature. We also learn to know the world and people in it. We learn human history, we learn sciences and technology, and learn how to do things more effectively and productively. We learn from books, stories and from our observation and understanding. We also learn to make decisions to enrich our life and to avoid pitfalls and suffering. It takes a receptive mind and a humble heart to acknowledge that we need to learn. Those who think they have known it all won’t learn, much less benefited from learning.
3) We learn from experience: Experiences of our own life and of others are a good resource of our learning. Many practical lessons of life are results of experiences of our life and that of others. Experience, our own or others, helps us to improve our learning process, shorten learning time and avoid repeat mistakes. That’s why we study history, biography of success-ful people and stories and events that help us see things from more than personal perspective. People who are too proud to learn from experience, their own or others, will suffer more setbacks, spent extra time unnecessarily and even repeat the same mistakes otherwise they may avoid.
4) We learn to know God: Building a close relationship with God is also a learning process. First we learn about the truth of salvation. Then we learn to respond to God’s call to be saved. Then we learn more about God and His purpose in our life through the study of His word, the Bible. We learn to grow our spiritual life by going through life experience and service in His church and in the world. We learn from those who are more advanced than us in our pursuit of faith and love both to God and to man. We learn to be humble in our own stumbling and mistakes. We learn to forgive as we are forgiven by God and others. Christian life is a never stop process of learning
WHAT MAKES US LEARN?
1) A desire to know: Since learning is important to know, the first condition to help us learn is the desire to know. Either to know knowledge or experience, for intellectual purpose or for spiritual purpose, one needs to have the desire to know before he really will be teachable so he can really learn. When we are willing to learn, we will be teachable and learning will become easy and effective.
2) A humble attitude: This has to do with our respect to those who teach and the contents of their teaching. We need to respect both in order to be teachable and really learning. If you either despise the teacher or what he is teaching, you are not teachable and you won’t learn much if anything at all.
3) A sense of inadequacy: Before we are willing to learn and be teachable, we must have a sense of inadequacy in our life and or the subject matter we want to learn. This has to do with the desire to improve, to become better, to go higher and achieve more. If one feels that he has all he needs for his life, he does not need anything else, be it knowledge or experience, in other words, if he doesn’t feel inadequate in anything, he won’t be teachable to learn anything.
4) A sense of divine calling: When we have the sense of God’s calling, we will do everything possible to accomplish that call including teaching and learning. If our life is to fulfill the will of God, our desire to learn will remain strong and we will be teachable to learn whatever God is teaching us. This is particularly true to those who have dedicated their lives to God for His service. To them no lesson is unimportant, no experience is unnecessary and no learning is waste of time. Learning becomes part of knowing His will and teachable is the key to effective learning. The life experience of Paul is a vivid picture of being teachable to learn God’s will.
LESSONS WE WANT TO LEARN: (Philippians 4:4-13)
1) Learn to live with joy: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4)Joy is the condition on the inside regardless of the condition on the outside. This is not the nature of man so it must be learned.
2) Learn to be gentle: “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” (4:5)In this world of vicious malice, gentleness to all is not part of human nature either. We must learn to be gentle.
3) Learn not to worry: “Do not worry about anything.” (4:6)To worry is being human because we have no knowledge or control about tomorrow. This is about faith in the Almighty God and it is something we need to learn to master.
4) Learn to live with peace: Again, in this violent world, peace is only a goal, not a reality. Paul said peace is of God and it is given to guard our hearts and minds. Regardless of the world on the outside, if we live in God, we have peace.
5) Learn to live with virtues: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever in noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things.” (4:8)Too many people have abandoned virtues in their life. We need to learn to reposition all the virtues in our lives.
6) Learn from the best: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me, put it into practice.” (4:9)If we want to learn from a good example, we want to learn from the best and Paul is the best without doubt.
7) Learn to concern: “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me.” ()In a world that stresses “I, me, and myself,” concern for others is a rare commodity. We all concern about ourselves. Concern for others is something we need to learn.
8) Learn to be content: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content.” ()Greed if part of human nature, contentment is not. The world urges us to get more but the Bible teaches us to be content wit what the Lord has given us.
9) Learn to rely in the Lord: “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” ()This golden verse of the Bible has been quoted countless times throughout history. While most men want to rely on themselves to gain, to achieve to control, we want to learn to know that it is the Lord and His strength that sustain all our endeavor of life.
1) Are you learning? Through the years of being a Christian, how much have you learned to grow a more mature spiritual life? Are you a good learner, a teachable Christian? Do you learn something every time you open the Bible, listen to a sermon or in a sharing time? Do you have a desire to grow, to change, to mature? Never stop learning and you life will change for the better every time you learn a new lesson.
2) What have you learned? Look at the virtues in Paul’s list of encouragement and find out if you have learned something. Have you grown spiritually as much as physically? Are you a better person, a more matured Christian in many ways? Are there areas of learning you still need to improve, to pursue or to continue? Never stop learning even it is a small step.
3) Learn to be saved: In all the things we may learn in this world, they all become meaningless or useless once we are done with our life I this world. So, learn something that will last forever: learn to know God and His love. He wants you to accept His son, Jesus, to be your savior and have eternal life. He also wants to see your life full of purposes, His purpose. Open your Bible, listen to messages and learn more about God and His love to you.